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New sewer hookups banned in Gem Village
5/9/2008 By: Carole McWilliams
New properties won't be accepted onto the Gem Village sewer system this year, because of ongoing loading and discharge violations at the treatment plant.
Bayfield town trustees approved that recommendation from Town Manager Justin Clifton Tuesday night to avert possible fines and building moratoriums from the State Health Department.
Clifton advised the plant has had effluent violations about 50
The big winter snowpack above Vallecito
has made this a good spring for waterfalls.
This one is near the east end of the dam.
Pine River Irrigation District has been
releasing a lot of water to make room for snowmelt.
As of Tuesday PRID was releasing
600 cubic feet per second,and 1,012 cfs
was coming in. The reservoir held 47,597
acre feet. PRID dam superintendent Hal Pierce
said he had already drawn the reservoir down to 7,624.5 feet in elevation,
and as of Tuesday it was back up to 7,631.12 feet.
percent of the time, on either seven day or 30 day averages. "None are extremely bad," he said. "But this is far more violations than we ever had at the Bayfield plant, and we saw what came of that." The State Health Department issued a cease and desist order which included a building permit moratorium in spring 2006. The moratorium was replaced by a compliance schedule after about three weeks.
Clifton said the resolution will affect properties that haven't been issued "will serve" letters. That includes future phases of the Homestead subdivision that haven't been platted yet.
Parcels in Gem Village would only be affected if someone wants to subdivide or expand use.
"I know of no new requests for inclusion in the Gem Village system in many months," Clifton said. "Most of the growth is in the highway corridor (in Gem Village). The system already includes those. If someone wants to subdivide a lot, we'll have to consider that case by case."
He added: "This is somewhat of a preventive measure. We hope that if we show (the state) we are treating it responsibly, that it will avoid further (enforcement) action." For months the town has been trying to track down the source(s) of load spikes of unidentified chemicals into the Gem Village system. One concern has been whether someone might be dumping meth lab chemicals into the system. Clifton said, "We sent samples looking for those compounds. We just didn't find it."
The halt to taking new properties into the Gem Village system will last until next year, when the new Bayfield treatment plant is done and a new lift station and main line are built to get Gem Village sewage to the new plant, so the Gem Village plant can be closed.
"We have closed bids for design work and will have a contract for the board to review soon," Clifton said of the Gem Village work. The line probably will be installed in spring 2009.
In other action Tuesday night, town trustees appointed Debbi Renfro to fill a board vacancy created when Rick Smith became mayor in April. Renfro was one of six candidates for three trustee seats in that election and will fill a two- year term.
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